Iranian general admits more than 300 killed in riots


Iranian general admits more than 300 killed in riots

An Iranian general acknowledged on Monday that more than 300 people had been killed in unrest surrounding protests across the country, the first official casualty count in two months.

The estimate is far lower than the death toll reported by Iranian human rights activists, a U.S.-based group, since protests erupted on Sept. 16 following the death of a young woman in the custody of the country’s morality police. The group has been closely tracking the protests. The militant group said 451 protesters and 60 security personnel had been killed and more than 18,000 detained since the unrest began.

The protests were sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, who was detained for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code. They quickly escalated into calls to overthrow Iran’s theocracy and pose one of the toughest challenges to the ruling clergy since the 1979 revolution came to power. A website with close ties to the Revolutionary Guards quoted General Amir Ali Hajizad, commander of the paramilitary Revolutionary Guards Aerospace Division, as saying that more than 300 people had been killed, including “martyrs,” apparently referring to the security forces.

He also said many of those killed were ordinary Iranians who were not involved in the protests. He did not provide exact figures or say where his estimates came from. Authorities severely limited media coverage of the protests. State-linked media did not report overall casualties, focusing instead on attacks on security forces that officials blamed on shadowy militant and separatist groups.

Hajizadeh reiterated the official line that the protests were instigated by Iran’s enemies, including Western countries and Saudi Arabia, but offered no evidence.

protesters say they are Hey After decades of social and political repression, they stood up and denied any foreign agenda. Protests have spread across the country and have drawn support from artists, athletes and other public figures.

The unrest has even cast a shadow over the World Cup, with some Iranians actively opposing their own national team because of what they see as links to the government. The niece of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, recently called on people to pressure their government to cut ties with Tehran’s violent crackdown on demonstrations.

Farideh Moradkhani urged “people of conscience in the world” to support the Iranian protesters in a video posted online by his brother, who lives in France. The video was shared online this week after Moradkhani was arrested on Nov. 23, according to the campaign group.

Moradhani, a longtime activist whose late father was an opposition figure, married Khamenei’s sister and was the closest member of the supreme leader’s family to be arrested. Branches of the family have opposed Khamenei for decades, and Moradhani has previously been jailed for her activism. “I ask the people of conscience in the world to stand with us and ask their governments to respond not with words and slogans but with deeds and stop dealing with this regime,” she said in a video statement. “

The protests, now in their third month, have continued despite a brutal crackdown by Iranian security forces using live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas. Iran has refused to cooperate with the fact-finding mission recently voted by the UN Human Rights Council.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will not have any cooperation with the political committee,” Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said on Monday. In another development, Iran released a 76-year-old Iranian-Austrian dual citizen on charges of Health reasons, the Austrian Press Agency reported.

APA, citing the Austrian foreign ministry, confirmed that Massud Mossaheb had been granted unlimited sick leave. “Intensive diplomatic efforts” led to his release, the ministry said, first reported by Austrian daily Die Presse. Iran had no immediate comment.

Mossaheb was arrested on suspicion of espionage during a visit to the capital Tehran in early 2019 and was later sentenced to 10 years in prison. He must remain in Iran and report to authorities every other week, APA reported.

Iran has detained several dual nationals in recent years on charges of threatening national security. Analysts and human rights groups have accused hardliners in Iran’s security establishment of using foreign detainees as leverage in negotiations with the West or in prisoner swaps, claims Tehran has denied.

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